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Enhancing Storytelling with Audio Performance

How The Failing Writers Podcast used their voice talents to transform an early excerpt of my story, Hot Box, into a full-on audio performance!

I’m a regular listener to The Failing Writers Podcast. I’ve spoken about them before in another essay titled, “Failing Forward,” which discusses my experience entering their 2023 annual flash-fiction competition— and NOT winning. It’s available here if you interested in reading my submission or learning about the process in general. But this is about something new— something killer— an audio performance of an early excerpt from my forthcoming book, Hot Box.

If you read the interstitial I published a few weeks back, “Maybe I ate it…,” then the excerpt might sound familiar, but trust me, this is a completely different experience. The hosts of the Failing Writers Podcast are professional voice talents in the United Kingdom, and it shows— or tells— I guess it sounds. You get what I’m saying, they’re bona fide pros, and the quality of the performance is something special!

The Failing Writers have a recurring segment where they take stories that interest them and turn them into full-on audio performances. These performances are a lot like old school radio programs. I submitted an early draft of my story to them, but (if I’m being completely honest with you) I didn’t expect to be selected on account of the accent work they would have to do. I know they’re pros, but it’d still be a lot of work and I assumed they had better things to do.

But some accent work is exactly what they did, and I think it turned out great. There is one mispronunciation which folks familiar with Korean will notice, but don’t blame the failing writers. That particular failure falls squarely on my shoulders. I didn’t think to send them a phonetic spelling of the Korean name. Pretty silly oversight on my part when you think about it. Let me know if you think I should haze myself. I’m happy to do so!


Even with the mispronounced name, the performance is awesome, and it’s hard to explain how amazing it feels listening to my work being performed by professionals the likes of Tom, John, and Dave.

This is clearly written by somebody who knows what they’re talking about…

The entire episode is great, and I recommend you listen to it of course— the rest of their stuff too— but if you’re interested in the audio performance of my story, you’ll want to really pay attention when it hits the 1:02:15 mark. You can check it out below!


Be sure to stick around for their commentary at the end of the performance. They take a few minutes to review my work and offer some critical thoughts about the writing, craft elements, and story in general. It’s encouraging to say the least, but I am curious what you think.

Do you agree with their assessment? Are they totally off base? Is it the worst story you’ve ever heard and you’re going to fly a blimp around major sporting events to let everyone know?


But also, are there questions you have about the characters, story, its format, or anything else for that matter?

Fire away, guys. I’ll answer anything I can.

Leave a comment

For more information about the story, you can follow updates at The Word & Pen, here, but it’d be great if you could follow Pane Publishing Company’s Instagram page @PanePublishingCo or on Facebook @PanePublsihingCompany (there will be more and more updates and content in the coming weeks). The likes, shares, and other stuff are super cool too and greatly appreciated!


Finally, go check out The Failing Writers Podcast! If you’re a creative type, you’re going to get something from them, but if you’re a writer or interested in the publishing industry at all, they are an invaluable resource, and you MUST check them out. Go to or look them up wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Okay, enough for now. The new Dune film was released yesterday for home streaming so there’s a Daddy-Daughter Movie-Night Date tonight that I need to plan for.

I’m not sure about desert power, but I know a little something, now, about audio performance power.

Semper Fidelis,


Editorial notes:

  • The opinions and thoughts you’ve just read are mine. They do not constitute an endorsement from respective authors, podcast, guests, or any other party.

  • I have no affiliations with any author, podcast, or guests other than being a fan of Tom, John, and Dave and the occasional competition submission.

  • I am a loyal listener of The Failing Writers Podcast, and I think everyone should check it out and subscribe wherever they get their podcasts. They really are awesome! However, The Failing Writers Podcast has not endorsed this essay, nor should anything you’ve read herein be considered representative of their ideas or position(s) in any way. Again, they are mine and mine alone.

The Sword & Pen
Hot Box
Project updates, production material, and excerpts for my forthcoming book, Hot Box.
Aaron Courts